James Dunn won the 1945 best supporting actor Oscar for his performance as the drunken waiter in "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."
Dunn turned to acting as a career after having tried his hand at almost everything, including marking stock quotations on the board in his father's New York brokerage firm.
After touring an Eastern theatrical circuit as a bit player, he wandered into the Paramount studio, then in New Jersey, where he was given several small parts. They paid well, so he stuck with the movies.
In 1931, he graduated from bit parts to feature roles and was signed by 20th Century-Fox. In the next five years he made 30 pictures. Later, Dunn played opposite Shirley Temple in "Stand Up and Cheer."
After making more than 50 more films, Dunn retired from films in 1950 with the making of "The Golden Gloves Story." He went on to become one of the first Hollywood actors to star in his own television series — "It's a Great Life."
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